I get this email a lot — “I am visiting Italy in a couple weeks, but we are only spending one day in Florence. What should I see?”
While I always advise spending more than just a day in Florence, I realize that isn’t always plausible and one day is better than nothing. So here we go, fasten your seatbelt for a whirlwind itinerary through Florence.
8:00 — Begin with an appointment to marvel at Michelangelo’s David. When you are short on time, it is always best to book tickets for major sites in advance so you can maximize your time and not waist it in line.
9:00 — Head to the Market of San Lorenzo to sample some tradition Tuscan delights, like dried fruits, fresh cheeses, and cured meats.
10:00 — Head towards Florence’s impressive pink and green duomo and marvel at the largest masonry dome in the world (still today!).
11:00 — Stroll down the elegant shopping street Via Tornabouni. Make sure you stop to admire the impressive Palazzo Strozzi and fuel up with the best cappuccino in Florence at Cafe Giacosa.
12:00 — Walk through the arch of Piazza Repubblica and head towards the Piazza della Signoria, make sure you grab a gelato on your way at Grom to tide you over until lunch.
12:30 — Tackle the Uffizi while everyone else is stopping for lunch (again it is best to book in advance online).
2:30 — Head over the Ponte Vecchio and across the river to Piazza Santo Spirito for lunch (this piazza has lots of great places to eat).
4:00 — Work off your lunch by visiting the picture gallery of the Palzzo Pitti (no reservation necessary) and strolling through the massive Boboli Gardens.
6:30 — Take a little walk south through the Oltrano (the neighborhood on the south side of the river Arno) and cross over the bridge just after the Ponte Vecchio (Santa Trinita), this provides the perfect view of the Ponte Vecchio at sunset and a great photo op.
7:30 — Reward yourself with a fabulous Tuscan dinner (you can see some of my restaurant recommendations here).
If you happen to have a couple days in Florence, I would break this up into two days and add the following sites/activities: climb the duomo, visit the church of Santa Croce, and hike to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo.